This February, milCloud 2.0 – one of the key pillars of the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) cloud strategy – celebrated its third anniversary, and it continues to offer DoD mission partners a rapid path for cloud migration.

With the DoD’s ongoing mandate to accelerate cloud adoption, defense agencies are working to transform their IT infrastructure to improve security, data accessibility, affordability, and performance. milCloud 2.0 – operated by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) – provides a single contract through which DoD mission partners can quickly access and deploy an integrated suite of cloud services to meet a wide range of workload needs.

“Three years after the successful launch of the milCloud 2.0 environment, we are pleased to continue to offer the latest cloud technology with the highest levels of security for DoD mission partners,” said Leigh Palmer, senior vice president of defense, GDIT. “As the environment has matured, we have continued to build out new capabilities that will help our customers deliver on their mission, and these capabilities are available today. Mission partners can make the move to migrate quickly.”

Among these new capabilities, GDIT recently announced that Amazon Web Services (AWS) joined the milCloud 2.0 fold. With onboarding via the existing milCloud 2.0 contract, DoD customers can get up and running on a wide variety of workloads quickly. With AWS on milCloud 2.0, mission partners can access both on premises and off premises cloud solutions to meet various fit-for-purpose and general purpose cloud needs, while taking advantage of advancements in analytics, edge computing, end user computing, and security.

GDIT also recently previewed the native on-demand VMware environment it is building in milCloud 2.0. With more than 90 percent of the DoD already operating on VMware, the addition of the virtualization software to the milCloud 2.0 environment will help make migration easier from a technical and workforce standpoint.

“As an operator inside an agency, when you log in, it will appear no different if your infrastructure is your on-prem environment or over on milCloud 2.0,” said Bill Rowan, vice president of Federal sales, VMware, during a November 2020 webinar. “The cloud should not look like some foreign destination.”

GDIT hosted a webinar (now available on demand) on February 24 to demonstrate the new AWS offering to mission partners. The company will host another webinar on March 11 to showcase the VMware capabilities.

Because milCloud 2.0 resides on DoD facilities and networks, participating agencies benefit from numerous inherited security controls – including DoD Information Network security boundary controls, Impact Level 5 provisional authority accreditation, and FedRAMP High Accreditation. GDIT notes that agencies can drastically reduce the typical 16-18 months-long cloud acquisition process and purchase cloud services through milCloud 2.0 in as little as 48 hours. The environment boasts a “pay-as-you-go” model, no a la carte bandwidth or transaction fees, and flexible payment options. The addition of AWS to the milCloud 2.0 environment provides mission partners with choice – both on premises and off premises options to suit a wide variety of workloads.

“I am a fan of milCloud 2.0, and I have been from the very beginning,” said Rory Kinney, Services Executive at the DISA Operations Center, at the milCloud 2.0 Virtual Bootcamp Event on September 10, 2020. “You have on-prem and you have off-prem offerings. There’s lots of push in the Department to go off-prem, but there’s always a need to make sure that we have multiple options available to us. I am a fan of milCloud because it does provide that balance,” he said.

As the DoD continues to focus on improving cybersecurity and accelerating innovation through technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, it needs high-performance, high-security enterprise cloud offerings that provide mission partners with flexibility and choice. Three years in, milCloud 2.0 seems ripe to deliver.

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MeriTalk Staff